Two goals in six minutes put Argentina in the driving seat as they defeat Croatia 3-0 in the first semi-final game of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

After half an hour of quiet football with Croatia only dominating the midfield but no penetrating passes, Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livaković brought Julian Àlvarez down as the striker tried to received a long ball and tried to loop the ball over him in the area which allowed Lionel Messi to dispatch a penalty into the top corner to give his country the lead after 33 minutes.

This goal makes Lionel Messi the highest scoring Argentinian at the World Cup with 11 goals, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta.

Álvarez doubled that advantage six minutes later, striding into the box after a swift Argentina counter-attack, enjoying a little bit of luck with the ball ricocheting back into his path before guiding the ball into the net from eight yards.

Livaković then had to be alert to produce an instinctive save to turn away Alexis MacAllister’s close-range header as the corner kick was delivered into the box.

Messi then provided a stunning assist to help put the game beyond doubt, turning Joško Gvardiol inside-out on the byline before laying the ball into the path of Álvarez to bury into the bottom corner to make it three.

Argentina reach the final for the first time since 2014 and will meet the winners of tomorrow’s other semi-final meeting between France and Morocco in Lusail on Sunday.